Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why I'm (Probably Not) Going to College

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
As a sophomore in high school, I get this question a lot (and I know it's only going to get worse as I go into Junior-land): "Where are you planning to go to college?" Here is a typical conversation about that subject:
"So where are you planning on going to college?"
"At this point, I don't think I'm going to go to college at all."
*horrified look* "What? But how will you get a job? I mean, you'd be so good in college, you're so smart!"
*with a rather awkward/nervous laugh* "Yeah, well. I just don't think it's necessary. I'd prefer to spend my time and money doing something more productive."
"But you should really go to college. You're college material."
"We'll see what happens."
"No, really, you should go."
Yeah. That's the typical exchange. Usually, the farther we get into the subject, the more horrified the poor person becomes as they realize that my kooky idea that I don't need to go to college is actually sincere. So, to explain to all the well-meaning people out there who believe I can't be anything without a college degree, let me explain this to you. That is, my reasons for not going to college.

Just as a disclaimer, let me say that I might, sometime in the future, decide to go to college. I might take some classes at a Bible college for the purposes of my own insatiable curiosity. I might wake up one morning and decide that I want to go to my local community college and learn how to be a businesswoman. I don't know. We'll see what God does. But as of this moment in time, at the age of 16 (almost 17), I don't think I need to go to college.

Pet peeve moment: I really hate the idea that I won't be able to get a good job without going to college.

I mean, if I'm smart enough to go to college, then why am I not smart enough to find something to do with my life without a piece of paper that certifies that I spent four years of my life, $30,000+, and a bunch of brainpower learning a bunch of stuff that I had already learnt anyway, with a year and a half of stuff I might not have known.

That was an incredible run-on sentence. But anyway. I especially dislike that mentality amongst Christians. We've become so infected by this idea that we can't do anything for God without a college degree, an idea that came from (surprise, surprise) the secular world. I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure that if God can use a completely ignorant African village man to spread the Gospel, he can use me. After all, I've grown up in church, have two parents who are extremely knowledgeable about the Bible, and thousands of bookstores and libraries and online resources to teach me things.

Aside from that little peeve, there's the issue of cost. Have you looked at tuition costs at colleges lately? They're crazy expensive. Even your lower-end 'cheap' colleges have steep prices. And when you consider that the average debt level of graduating college students is somewhere about $30,000...yeah, I just really don't want that hanging over my head for the rest of my life, even if it is for Jesus. (Although, there is an interesting paradox displayed there: we need to go into debt to go learn something for Jesus, but then again, the Bible says some pretty bad things about debt...oh yes...)

Add to that the cost of four years, the best years of my life. The years between 19 and 25 are some of the most active years, when a person is at their physical prime. Before that, things are building up, and after that, the...decay sets in, if that's what we want to call it. So I could spend those four years going and doing, rather than sitting down in a classroom, spending a ton of money for something I could get for a few dollars in late fees at a public library. I could intern with a missionary or two and get years of experience put at my disposal, and for far cheaper.

So that, in a nutshell, is why I'm not planning to go to college. This may change sometime in the future, and then I'll end up spending a bunch of money and time. We'll see.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you are brave enough to post this commentary on going to college! I was just wondering myself this morning about all those geniuses throughout the ages who never went to college but were actually self taught. Today when a person opts out of college they are viewed as ignorant, which is far from the truth about most people! Example: my own mother never went to college. She was a good student in high school. She was a great wife and mom. She was a municipal judge that did such a great job that when she ran for re-election she was unopposed. It's not the college degree that proves a person's competence, it's their ability. Good Job on this article! I've raised my boys to see college in the same light you have. Besides the debt is NOT worth it when you can aprentice or learn on your own! Amen!